Submit Event

ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Using data to answer and evaluate policy

One-day short course


4th August 2015


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy


Nicholas Biddle



In this course at The Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy you will discuss a range of analytical techniques that can be used to answer key policy questions. You will learn how to measure the impact of policy and whether or not a particular policy improves individual lives.

Course overview


The aim of this course is to introduce and discuss a range of analytical techniques that can be used to answer key policy questions. The course will familiarise participants with techniques that help us target scarce resources, analyse the relationship between variables, use longitudinal data to understand change through time, and identify attitudes, abilities and biases. The focus of the course will be on the assumptions, purpose and limitations of the techniques, rather than formulae and equations.

One of the key policy questions that will be a focus of the course is whether or not a particular policy or program improves individual lives. This is a fundamental question that has relevance across many policy domains including social policy, economic policy, health, education, development assistance and many more. Such causal questions are surprisingly difficult to answer. This course will outline the main problem of causality in policy analysis – how to deal with selection. It will then address some of the main techniques used to control unobserved heterogeneity, with a focus on their uses and limitations. The course will be highly applied and use examples from a range of policy domains to show how we can measure impact.

The introductory course (Demystifying statistics) isn’t a formal pre-requisite to attend this course, but is recommended for those who have limited experience in quantitative analysis.

Course convenor

Dr Nicholas Biddle

Dr Nicholas Biddle has extensive experience with the development and use of official statistics with a strong background in statistical and quantitative methodology. A Fellow in the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU, he recently returned from a working stint at Stanford University. Nicholas worked for seven years in the Methodology Division of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), developing and using official statistics. He is an engaging and enthusiastic presenter with a consistent research and teaching focus on the application and policy relevance of empirical data.

Course date: 9.30am–4.30pm 4 August 2015
Venue: #132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: $1,100 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

Press Ctrl+C to copy